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Ron Paul: Rick Perry Supported Al Gore for President


Ron Paul put on his alligator shoes, orange suit, and rings and straight-up backhanded Texas Governor Rick Perry this weekend.

Recalling the fact that Rick Perry was a Democrat as recently as the Reagan era, Ron Paul's campaign released an advertisement this weekend highlighting Rick Perry's original support for an unexpected candidate for president: Al Gore.

Rick Perry served as the Texas Chairman for Al Gore's 1988 presidential campaign, where Gore ran on the environment and AIDS prevention. Ron Paul, poking a stick at Perry's cheerleading past (he was a college cheerleader), calling him the cheerleader for the Al Gore campaign.

"Rick Perry helped lead Al Gore's campaign to undo the Reagan revolution," Ron Paul's Campaign ad's narrator says, "fighting to elect Al Gore president of the United States." Here is the ad, which, like many of Paul's ads, are interesting and compelling, even for people who may not necessarily support Paul.

Here's the other key fact from the ad. While Rick Perry was a Democrat supporting Al Gore, Ron Paul was one of only four congressmen to support the supposedly unelectable Ronald Reagan for President. The clear message: Ron Paul is the new era's Reagan.

That's right, folks. Rick Perry, the "conservative" messiah who has vaulted to the top of the GOP nomination polls, endorsed liberal environmental activist Al Gore for president. How well will that sit with GOP voters, once they learn the facts?

As of now, Perry has jumped out to a lead in the national polls (which mean little right now) and in Iowa (which means a great deal right now). With Michele Bachmann's campaign faltering (two top advisers left this weekend) and Mitt Romney choosing to skip Iowa, that leaves Ron Paul in the best position to make some noise in the Hawkeye State and possibly slow Perry's momentum.

Current polling in Iowa:

  • Texas Governor Rick Perry, 29 percent
  • Minnesota Representative Michele Bachmann, 18 percent
  • Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, 17 percent
  • Texas Congressman Ron Paul, 14 percent
  • Random Assorted Republicans, less than 5 percent each

We'll have to wait for the first debate, and perhaps let the calendar flip another month or so, but it is becoming apparent that Iowa is Perry's state to lose. Bachmann has stalled and, like I said, Romney isn't really trying here. If that's the case, an interesting chess match emerges among the top four contenders.

A big win in Iowa could push undecided voters in South Carolina to Perry. That leaves only New Hampshire, where Romney is focusing his efforts, as an early win and firewall for the other candidates. Bachmann cannot and will not win in New Hampshire. She's currently in fourth place. Absent a win in Iowa (which will not happen) she cannot develop the momentum to break through in New Hampshire.

Perry could win New Hampshire, particularly if he wins big in Iowa and appears competent in the debates. Ron Paul is unlikely to jump all the candidates, but he could easily move into second place in the Granite State, particularly if Romney slips and his supporters find Perry scary.

Let's take a look at the recent New Hampshire polling.

Current polling in New Hampshire:

  • Mitt Romney, 36 percent
  • Rick Perry, 18 percent
  • Ron Paul, 14 percent
  • Michele Bachmann, 10 percent
  • Random Assorted Republicans, less than 5 percent each

This is why you see Ron Paul going directly after Rick Perry, particularly in terms of Perry not being a true Republican and for supporting anti-Reagan candidate Al Gore. Paul seeks to weaken Perry a little in Iowa, and overtake him in New Hampshire.

Paul's ultimate goal? Position himself, not Perry and certainly not Romney, as the pro-Reagan candidate who can win the election.

Will he do so? It's a bit of a long-shot strategy. It requires Bachmann to slip but remain in the race, as she siphons votes from Perry. It requires Romney to finish ahead of Perry in New Hampshire and then appear not viable as a national candidate for the overall party. It depends on Paul finishing third or second in Iowa. And, ultimately, it depends on Paul defining himself as the 2012 version of Ronald Reagan — the candidate mocked by the media and called unelectable.

Two landslides later, he's one of the few two-term presidents of the modern era. It's apparently the model Ron Paul is going for as he contemplates his path to victory.

You can reach the author by email or on twitter @johndthorpe.


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Posted-In: 2012 Election Michele Bachmann Rick Perry Ron PaulNews Movers & Shakers Politics General Best of Benzinga

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